Trace by Archer Mayor

Setting: Vermont
Genre: Crime Fiction
Publisher: Minotaur
Release Date: September 26, 2017

I usually prefer Kindle books. This time I'm so thankful I had an actual book. A storm hit Vermont on Sunday night/Monday morning and left many of us without power. My Kindle wasn't fully charged when I went to bed Sunday night. By Monday evening, I was in need of books I could read by lantern. This was perfect.

If you're not familiar with the Joe Gunther series, you should go back to the first and enjoy some of the best crime fiction around. You don't have to in order to follow Trace, but they're really not a series to miss.

Lyme disease is scarily present in Vermont. The head of the Vermont Bureau of Investigations (VBI) gets a call that his mom has Lyme encephalitis. The best plan of action involves an out-of-state trip to the Francis Rehab Institute. Joe offers to take her, which means Samantha Martens is going to have to take his place at the VBI.

The VBI is in for a bit of a rough time as there are several cases going on that demand the VBI's best. There's the murder of Beverly Hillstrom's daughter's roommate. The murder doesn't look like your average murder, it looks like a hit.

A two-year-old open and shut double murder involving a police officer is also weighing on the VBI. Lester Spinney at the VBI gets a call regarding evidence that proves the accused shooter really didn't shoot the officer at all. Someone else did and that killer could still be out there.

Finally, a young girl is wandering the railroad tracks when she finds three bloody teeth. Thinking it may be nothing, the VBI starts to investigate and discovers there's far more to this case than anyone could imagine.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Archer Mayor knows what he writes. He's been a medical examiner, police officer, and EMT/firefighter. His knowledge shines in all of his books. That's part of what draws me to the Joe Gunther series. He also has traveled all over the state since he lives here. His details into the towns and cities are always spot on. I've seen other novels where Burlington and Waterbury are side by side (not at all true), so I appreciate the accurate geographical details.

Trace did have a few plots going at once, but I grabbed a notepad until I got acclimated to the different characters and locations. It didn't take long before I was into the story and eagerly reading each case.

RTR's Bottom Line

I admit I have a bit of a soft spot for Archer Mayor and his books. I've always loved the characters. The author gave a speech at my son's high school years ago, and the things he told the students resonated. I used to drive one of the carpools, and the kids talked about his speech for days.

If you want a solid crime novel that takes you on an enjoyable ride, don't miss the Joe Gunther series. Trace is a book I would buy for gifts and my keeper shelf.


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